The Drunken Bride, Russia Unveiled

Donald Weber


The Drunken Bride, Russia Unveiled, a series of photographs captured during the last three years by Donald Weber, reveals the enduring tragedy that has resulted from Stalinist-era corrective labour camps known as Gulag. At the time of the Russian Revolution in 1917, approximately 16 thousand people lived in Czarist prisons. Two years later, an estimated 70 thousand men, women and children had been sentenced to live in the labour camps under the Bolsheviks. While estimates vary, it is said that as many as 40 million people were absorbed into the Gulag system before it was abolished in 1960. Today, many Gulag survivors and their descendants still maintain a bleak existence in remote wastelands.

Weber documents the complex aftermath of the Gulag: the beautiful forested sites where prisoners were shot and disposed of; the forgotten, aging survivors who continue a daily struggle for survival; the network of prisoners, known as Zeks, that flaunt elaborate tattoos whose symbology dates back to the early 19th century.

Originally from Toronto, Donald Weber is an award-winning photographer currently dividing his time between Moscow and Kiev. The recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2007 and a World Press Award, he is represented by VII Network.

Curated by Johan H. Campbell